The Guardian newspaper surprised me on Sunday by publishing a remarkable piece of journalism which pretty much equated nothing more than paranoid ranting and reactionary drivel.
Google is in the final analysis a parasite that creates nothing, merely offering little aggregation, lists and the ordering of information generated by people who have invested their capital, skill and time. On the back of the labour of others it makes vast advertising revenues – in the final quarter of last year its revenues were $5.7bn, and it currently sits on a cash pile of $8.6bn.
Let us take a case in point. Above is some text from the article that the Guardian created and published. Have I stolen this content or am I quoting it? I think we all know the answer to that question.
Obviously I have quoted part of an article. I have referred back to the original source of the article so that you, if you so wished, could put this quote within its original context. Unless I’m missing something, this is no more than what Google or Yahoo do with their news portals. Am I breaking any laws doing this?
I was so irritated by this article that I decided to leave a comment expressing my annoyance. I may as well reprint that here (unless that means I’m stealing from the Guardian?).
This strikes me as an extremely reactionary article which doesn’t fit with my impression of The Guardian at all. Feels much more like something that the Daily Mail would write.
I can only assume that the second half of the article complaining about Google using newspaper’s content refers to the Google News portal. Am I missing something in my interpretation that it’s completely retarded for newspapers to be complaining about this portal. All it does is link through to the original story. Just like search results it displays the meta description of the story, if one is provided in the original HTML source, and then a link to the site where the full story can be found.
Um, what the hell is wrong with this?
You may as well sue all search engines for “stealing content” then, as every single search result works in the same way.
I think it’s perfectly understandable that content providers should have to choose to opt-out of having their content listed in search results. It’s a simple thing to do and if it worked the other way around you might as well not have search engines for all the good they’d be.
I think newspapers should look very carefully at how the attitudes held by the music industry have caused them nothing but woe and should consider adopting a more forward-thinking approach to how to distribute and receive remuneration in this new media landscape.
Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land has similarly felt spurred on to write about this, and he does so much more knowledgeably than I.
Newspapers get special treatment, both with First Click Free and with the extraordinary amount of traffic they get from Google. And while their top managers go off on renewed Google rampages, they still continue to work to get even more traffic. It is stunning hypocrisy, and certainly not what you’d expect from smart business people.
I can only agree with Danny Sullivan, and I recommend reading his article as it gives a very good background to what is going on.